President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the resignation of former Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen.
Mr. Walter who was accused of false asset declaration by the Federal Government through the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) resigned following his conviction at the Danladi Umar led Code of Conduct Tribunal.
He was first recommended for suspension by the CCT even without fair-hearing. Consequently, President Buhari acted on the recommendation order of the CCT, suspended the former CJN and appointed Acting CJN, Tanko Muhammad (he recently extended his appointment by 3 months), pending the determination of his (Onnoghen’s) case.
Onnoghen battled legally to prove his innocence, but to no avail. Even the National Judicial Council (NJC) in its report recommended that he is retired from office.
Naija Buzz in April reported that Onnoghen amidst the legal battle sent his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistance on Media and Publicity to the President, on Sunday revealed that Buhari in a letter to the Acting CJN accepted his (Onnoghen) voluntary resignation and has also initiated the process of appointing 5 new justices of the Supreme Court.
Read in part a copy of President Buhari’s letter to the CJN which was sent to Naija Buzz
“Pursuant to the provisions of Section 230(2) A&B of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I am pleased to request that you initiate in earnest the process of appointing additional five Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to make the full complement of 21 Justices as provided by the aforementioned provisions of the Constitution.
“This is in line with the government’s agenda of repositioning the judiciary in general and Supreme Court in particular for greater efficiency, with a view to reducing the backlogs of appeals pending at the Supreme Court.
‘‘Please accept, your Lordship, the assurances of my highest regards.’’
“Meanwhile, President Buhari has accepted the voluntary retirement from service of Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria, effective from May 28, 2019,” Shehu said in his Sunday statement.
“The President thanked Justice Onnoghen for his service to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and wished him the best of retirement life,” he added.